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Archive for the ‘Beastie Boys’ Category

april2301SOUNDTRACK: LOS LOBOS-“Guantanamera” (1978).

220px-Los_Lobos_del_Este_de_Los_Angeles_coverI never listened to much Los Lobos, although their recent tiny Desk Concert opened my eyes to the,

This review from Hornby made me want to check out some of their music.  I’m not interested in their rock n’ roll songs, but I am quite interested in their Mexicali and more diverse songs.

Their debut album was mostly traditional songs.  I hadn’t heard their take on “Guantanamera,” a song that is in my consciousness, although I’m not sure from where, exactly.  I know the Pete Seeger version, but that can’t be the one I am most familiar with, right?

The Los Lobos version is, surprisingly, slower and a but less catchy that the version I am familiar with.  Although I imagine their version is more accurate.  Los Lobos has three lead singers.  It’s interesting that the guy with the fewest lead vocal songs, bassist Conrad Lozano is the lead singer here.

[READ: September 10, 2019] “The Entertainers”

This essay is about Los Lobos and the art of box sets.

The turn of the century was a pretty big time for the box set.  I have too many of them myself.

You get home busting with anticipation, and sit down to listen to the first half-dozen songs of a beloved artist’s recording career, and to read the weighty accompanying essay and then, somewhere along the line, a vague disappointment kicks in.  You become irritated that your favorite song is represented only by a demo or a live recording or an alternate mix that omits the horns.  Pretty soon, you find that you’re playing only the last few tracks on the second CD–tracks that you probably already own.  A few weeks later, you realize, guiltily, that the fourth CD has not yet been removed from the box and that it never will be.

This is a bit excessive in my experience, but the general tenor is spot on. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 17, 2018] Kid Koala’s Vinyl Vaudeville

I have been a fan of Kid Koala since the early 2000s.  He’s not a DJ so much as a magician on the turntable.  He is able to make vinyl do amazing things.  His hands are fast, his timing is impeccable and he uses puppets too!

But I had no idea that his live show would be so much fun.  I mean, sure it was called Vinyl Vaudeville, but could it live up to his calling it “the silliest show on earth?”  Well, I dispute the silliness aspect because silly implies that it’s not also awesome, which this definitely was.

So what exactly does a turntablist do so it’s not just a guy scratching records?

Well, primarily he uses props.  Almost every song has a visual element.  In fact the very first song started out in total darkness with a black light and a sloth puppet.  I don’t know what the song was called or if it had anything to do with sloths, but it was fun to watch.   (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE PERCEPTIONISTS-Tiny Desk Concert #661 (October 20, 2017).

The Perceptionists are Mr. Lif [Jeffery Haynes] and Akrobatik [Jared Bridgeman] two emcees whose names rock bells among true hip-hop heads. The duo of Boston natives first teamed up as The Perceptionists in the early aughts to release Black Dialogue on El-P’s Def Jux label in 2005. Their side project went into indefinite hiatus soon afterward, but now LLif and Akrobatik are reunited on their new LP, Resolution.

In a world that often appears to be spiraling out of control, their Tiny Desk set provides a much-needed breather.

With sharp, heartfelt lyricism, The Perceptionists critique the current political climate on “Out Of Control.”  There’s some great lyrics in this song.  I especially like

Man, I’m right there with them
Keeping it funky
If I’m African American, tell me which country
Our differences shouldn’t make you wanna hunt me
When in reality every fruit came from one tree

The song has a groovy funky bass from the really animated (H)Ashish Vyas.

On “Lemme Find Out” they rhyme about the symbiotic human relationship with technology.  They say our lives are just so dominated by technology…  Mr Lif wonders “if I am living in the real reality or just a predetermined reality that I’ve been programmed with.”  Akrobatik says, “50 years from know humans are going to have craned necks from [cell phones].”  The track opens with a cool echoing somewhat sinister guitar riff from Van Gordon Martin [“Not known for shit startin’ but his name is Van Martin”]

Once again, I love Akrobatik’s rhymes:

Microchip implanted in my hip
Got me feeling like an alien that landed in a ship
Probed my frontal lobe now I’m standing here equipped
With abilities to flip
But I can’t get a grip on regular shit
I’m about to dodge my competitor’s wit
Hit them with something that they’ll never forget
Deprogram, roll up a hell of a spliff
And smoke Master Kush at the edge of a cliff

I really like the little growls that Mr Lif does at the end of the verses.

The next song is “A Different Light.”  This chorus is great:

Want to crucify me for toughest era in my life?
That’s all right…
Thought the world of you but now I see you in a different light
That’s all right…

The duo’s

conscious ethos is perfectly encapsulated by Ak’s lyrical run.  He raps: “But I’m above all of the melodrama / When they go low / We go high / Michelle Obama.”

Mr. Lif says, “Everyone enters a relationship with different levels of expectations.”  Sometimes we are looking too closely at our expectations and not looking at the other person and being present with the situations right in front of us.   The song is mellow with some gentle synths from “Chop” Lean Thomas. The end of the song has a retro flute sound.  There’s also a mellow guitar line that runs through the song.

The song tells the story of Ak’s near-death experience with a pernicious aortic dissection, as well as the betrayal of a close friend during his convalescence.

About that incident, Acrobatik raps:

I don’t need to call your name out – I ain’t trying to embarrass ya
This is not about revenge, it’s more about your character
Or lack thereof, step back there brov
How can you call someone a friend and then attack their love?

The final song is “Early Morning.”  It’s got some great funky bass and some great funky drums from “Tommy B” Benedetti.  They say they hope this resonates with us all.

As the song ends, there’s some great riffs on the guitar and then Ak says, “we can’t  make a crazy exit… don’t wanna knock shit over.”

[READ: February 13, 2017] Hip Hop Family Tree 3

Book three continues the rise of Hip-Hop and bands who really start selling big.

Interestingly, it starts with Rick Rubin setting the tone for hip hop: “Sorry but girls don’t sound good rapping” (said to Kate Schellenbach of Beastie Boys.  And then getting the Boys all dressed in matching tracksuits (Puma).  Kate gets two rather unflattering drawings of her as the Boys tell her that the three boys will be the first white rap group (with Rubin as DJ).

Two art critics also get involved with tagging and graffiti at this time. Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant take photos of the art but find time and again that “legitimate” businesses want nothing to do with this illegal work.  This also accompanies the rise of break dancing–there’s a funny page in which people think that a group of kids break dancing is actually fighting with each other.

But this book really tracks the rise of Run D.M.C., with the promise by DJ Run that he wouldn’t leave Jay behind.  He was good to his word. (more…)

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greatestSOUNDTRACK: PINK FLOYD-“The Hard Way” and “Wine Glasses” (1974).

glassThis book informed me about these two unreleased Pink Floyd songs (there’s a Wikipedia site that lists some fifty more !).  While the were unreleased in 1974 (from the abandoned Household Objects album), they were eventually released in 2011 on expanded versions of albums.

“The Hard Way” features some “percussion” that sounds like someone taking steps.  There’s a bass riff which I gather is from rubber bands (but very well tuned).  There’s clocks ticking and chiming and tape being unspooled.  It’s a neat idea and while it is absurd to think you could make a whole album with this kind of stuff (in 1974), it’s a surprisingly good sounding track.

“Wine Glasses” was apparently made with wine glasses.  It is all of 2 minutes long.  It was designed to be a full song but was eventually used in the introduction to “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.”  I never really considered that there were wine glasses making the sounds (and clearly there are synths added on top), but yeah, so that ‘s kinda neat.

[READ: November 25, 2014] The Greatest Albums You’ll Never Hear

I found this book at work and knew I had to read it.  I was actually surprised at how long it took me to read (there’s a lot of entries).

The title and subtitle pretty much say everything you need to know about this book (and if you need to read it or not).  This book collects a series of writers who give a brief history of some of the more famous (and some not so famous) albums that were never released.  It explains (as best they can) why the albums weren’t released and even gives a percentage chance of likelihood of the album ever seeing the light of day (interestingly, most seem to be a 3/10–they may have been able to use a 5 point scale).

I knew some of the records they talked about (The Beach Boys’ Smile, Neil Young’s Chrome Dreams), but was ignorant of quite a lot of them. And while big fans of the artists may know all of the details about their favorite lost album already (these are sketches, not exhaustive research), there will certainly be some new information.  For instance, I’m a huge Pink Floyd fan but had no idea about the two shelved works mentioned here.

I liked the way the book was done chronologically and grouped by decade.  It was also interesting to see how the “reasons” for the non-release morphed over the decades from “the record label didn’t like it” to “it was leaked online.”

The one major gripe I have with the book is that it is chock full of “imagined” album covers.  This in itself is okay, but it is not made explicitly clear that they are all imagined (credits are given at the bottom of each image, but it took me a few entries to realize these were just people’s ideas of what the covers could look like).  And most of them are gawdawful.  Just really lame and dull (as if they had 20 minutes to come up with an idea).  They mar an otherwise cool collection,especially since some of the unreleased records actually do have proposed covers (even if they were never released).  I see that there is in fact a paragraph about the covers in the front pages of the book, but it is almost hidden away.

In addition to the albums I’ve listed below, I learned some fascinating things.  That Bruce Springsteen has hundreds of songs that he wrote but never released for various reasons.  That Pink Floyd did try to make an album out of household objects (with no instruments).  That the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks was almost simultaneously released illicitly as Spunk.  And that Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album was recently remastered.

The end of the book includes two small sections: other favorites that were never released.  Not sure why they earned only a small column instead of a full entry, but that’s okay.  The second was albums that we eventually did see, like My Bloody Valentine’s MBV and Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy.

So if you ever wondered what happened to that long lost album, this may be the book for you.

A sampling of the unreleased records include:

  • The Beach Boys-Smile
  • Buffalo Springfield-Stampede
  • The Kinks-Four Respected Gentlemen
  • The Beatles-Get Back
  • Jeff Beck-The Motown Album
  • Jimi Hendrix-Black Gold
  • The Who-Lifehouse
  • Wicked Lester
  • Rolling Stones-American Tour ’72
  • CSN&Y-Human Highway
  • Pink Floyd-Household Objects (1974), Spare Brick 1982
  • Dusty Springfield-Longing
  • David Bowie-The Gouster (1975), Toy (2001)
  • Sex Pistols-Spunk
  • Neil Young -Homegrown (1975), Chrome Dreams (1976)
  • Frank Zappa-Läther
  • Beastie Boys-Country Mike’s Greatest Hits
  • Weezer-Songs from the Black Hole
  • Jeff Buckley-My Sweeetheart the Drunk
  • Van Halen-IV
  • Foo Fighters-The Million Dollar Demos
  • Green Day-Cigarettes and Valentines (the author doesn’t believe it was actually stolen)
  • Tapeworm (Trent Reznor and Maynard James Keenan among others)
  • Deftones-Eros
  • U2-Songs of Ascent
  • Beck-The Song Reader

 

 

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myhomeSOUNDTRACK: MUCKAFERGUSON-“MC Speller” (2010).

muckaI had never heard of Muckaferguson.  Okay, that is not true, as I see I made a post about them because of the They Might be Giants song “John Lee Supertaster.”  Because the real John Lee is a indeed a supertaster and was in the band Muckaferguson. (And John Flansburgh of TMBG produced this album).  So there.  But I still hadn’t heard them until now.

This song comes from that album.

The album is a flurry of genres and styles, and amid all of this, we get this old school beat box rap (sorta early Beastie Boysish).  And I like it because it is quite funny.  And since it’s only a minute and a half long, I’ll put all the lyrics, because I can’t pick a favorite line:

my name is mc speller and i like to spell…s p e l l spells spell. mc speller and i love to spell…q u e u e spells queue.

he’s a maniac, ya’ll. here comes the heart attack, yo. chris likes food. andy like atari. i like the work of john baldessari. my rhymes are fresh and my moves are hard. i play the plastic guitar like baudrillard.

my name is mc speller and i like to spell…d a d spells dad. mc speller and i love to spell…r h o n g spells wrong.

i’m mc scared of bees, ya’ll cause you know that i’m scared of bees, ya’ll. when i see a bee i run because by definition i’m scared of bees.

yo, i’m comin’ to you straight out of sutton in suburban south london. white, middle class, educated 20 something. i got me degree in pure mathematics. i don’t like to rap i’m just being sarcastic.

r i g h t spells right, mc speller’s gonna spell all night, talkin’ about. n i g h t spells night, mc speller spells everything right

Despite the kid friendly nature of some of some of these songs, the album as a whole is definitely not kid friendly (I mean, look at the cover and, frankly the band’s name).  The song “I Wanna Get…” is all about getting, well, F’d up, so be mindful.  But many of the songs are delightfully witty.

John Lee, incidentally, is also responsible for the show Wonder Showzen, so if you know the show, you get a sense of the kind of mischief he makes.

[READ: August 9, 2014] My Homework Ate My Homework

Regardless of how I felt about Guinea Dog 1 and 2 (overall I liked them quite a bit), it was impossible not to snap up a book with a title like this.  Especially when the book is about a ferret.  (The cover is by the same artist as the Guinea Dog books, which led me to assume the style was similar, which it was).

This book is about 10-year-old Zaritza (the unusual name is never explained).  She is… dramatic.  And is a fan of dramatic….  pauses.  She is incredibly excited to be playing Calamity Jane in the upcoming traveling theater production of Calamity Jane.  She has watched the film dozens of times and has her “Calam” down perfectly.

The problem is that if she doesn’t bring her grades up she’s won’t be allowed to do extra curricular activities.  Like drama.  She is not the best student, so rather than actually doing her work, she decides to do some extra credit.  Like bringing the classroom pet Ferret home for the weekend.  She hates the ferret.  She hates its smell, she hates its look. Hates it.  But she needs the credit.  And so it comes home.  And then she forgets to close the cage door and the ferret gets out.

Panic!

While the ferret is out, and they are trying to catch it, Zaritza hears something–gnawing.  And that’s when her homework ate her homework. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_08_05_13Cuneo.inddSOUNDTRACK: BARENAKED LADIES-Stop Us If You’ve Heard This One Before (2011).

stopThis is a “rarities” collection that was originally to be released as part of their released at the same time greatest hits.  I put rarities in quotes because the collection is actually rather disappointing–there are a lot of unreleased tracks, but they are primarily demos of more recent songs which don’t sound all that different from the actual recorded versions.  There are a few live tracks (the best thing on here) and one or two otherwise unreleased tracks–but not the unreleased tracks that came on that greatest hits record (Disc One).

“I Don’t Get It Anymore” is the only track on the disc that didn’t get a more formal release elsewhere (except for one obvious exception).  It is a slow ballad type song—the kind that BNL had been heading more towards as they matured. It’s a good, solid song and the combination of Page and Robertson makes this song always enjoyable.

“Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!” was released as a B-side (although this is said to be a “Stereo Mix” whatever that means).  “Half a Heart” was re-recorded for Are Men.

That leaves some demos and here’s where most of my complaints lie, for two different reasons.  “The Old Apartment” is nice to hear but it is an acoustic guitar version done solely by Page.  It’s also clearly an early version, because it lacks all of the oomph that makes the final product so good.  I know it’s a demo, but some demos are better than other.  The other bummer demo parts are actually too close to the final product.  “Second Best” eventually appeared on Everything to Everyone, this is a demo version  “I Can I Will I Do” is a demo that appeared on Are Me.  “Adrift” is a pretty, string-filled version of the song from Are Men.  The sad thing is I can’t tell what’s different about them.  The final demo “Long While” is a song that never appeared elsewhere (but would likely have appeared on Everything.  It sounds finalized and not like a demo and it, along with the first song are nice new tracks for fans.

There’s a remix of “One Week” which has been released already and which is frankly pretty boring.  It’s got a few extra lines sampled and a few extra sounds, but otherwise not all that different from the original.

That leaves the lives songs, which, as I said, are a treat.  “The Same Thing” is a very enjoyable live version.  The strange thing about that live song is that the crowd seems absolutely wild—full of screaming young girls.  It sounds a little phony given the BNL shows I’ve been to (were they that huge in 1992/93).  But those same cheers are on “Teenage Wasteland” a song which has not been elsewhere.  The intro to the song is very funny and the song itself is really good.  Shame it didn’t get an official recording.

The final track is the huge highlight though.  It’s a faithful cover of the Beastie Boys’ “Shake Your Rump.”  It is fun and surprisingly right on.  This recording comes from Santa Maria Hilton on 10/13/1994–they played this song a lot during that tour.

Those few highlights aside, this collection a pretty big disappointment.  BNL has some great stuff in their archives (including all of their earlier tapes that deserve a proper release).  Are the Ladies to mature to release this old stuff?  Let’s hope not.  It’s been 20 years after all.

[READ: August 7, 2013] “Now Where Did I Leave that Oxygen Tank”

I have been disappointed with a lot of Shouts and Murmurs lately—many feel like a one note joke that goes on and on.  And so I’ve gotten to the point where I read the first paragraph, determine if it’s going to be funny and more of ten than not, just skip it.  Short, humorous pieces take many shapes, and many people can do wonders in this format (Simon Rich springs to mind because her brings in a dozen different ideas in one piece).  Woody Allen is another for very different reasons.  He knows how to write short comic pieces that are a story unto themselves and which end up being very satisfying.

And this is a very good one, despite the somewhat unpromising title (and illustration which gives a bit away).

And yet, how’s this for a great opening that is ultimately full of misdirection:  “How my wife was able to transmute the ingredients of an award-winning recipe for chocolate brownies into twelve perfect squares of granite was a feat that only medieval alchemists could appreciate.”  The man ate the brownie and is in the dentist’s office.  Where he reads about patients getting things stitched up in them after surgery (6000 a year the USA Today says).

A lot of writers like to throw in absurdities, but to my ear absurdity either works great or falls flat.   Allen’s works great.  His protagonist is a playwright.  And his complaint is that a critic compared his recent play “to typhus.”  Outstanding joke.  The playwright has suffered from writer’s block, but now he seizes upon the lost items tidbit and works though a new play. (more…)

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zitaSOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-Running with Scissors (1999).

Running_with_Scissors_(Weird_Al_Yankovic_album_-_cover_art)This is the first album Al released with is new look—LASIK surgery and long hair.  He looked quite different, but it didn’t diminish his song writing skills.  Running with Scissors is a pretty great collection of songs.

“The Saga Begins” is a genius parody taking the music of “American Pie” and merging it with the plot from Star Wars Episode I.  The way he retells the story is snarky and funny.  “My Baby’s in Love with Eddie Vedder” is a weird song—an accordion-based zydeco song about, well, a guy whose girl loves Eddie Vedder.  Vedder is kind of a weird person to pick (since he does make fun of him), although I guess it’s pretty mild abuse.  “Pretty Fly for a Rabbi” opens with a joke on a Def Leppard song (in Hebrew) but then moves on to “Pretty Fly for a White Guy.”  The original is pretty goofy and there’s not much Al could have done to it except this—changing it to being all about a rabbi. I like this version better than the original now.

The next track is the theme for The Weird Al Show.  It’s utter nonsense, but very funny.  And it packs a lot in to the 75 seconds that it lasts.  “Jerry Springer” is a parody of Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week.”  The original is pretty weird/funny, so this seems an odd choice, and yet Al’s specifics to the Jerry Springer show is pretty funny.  Of course I hate shows like that so I don’t love this song.

“Germs” is a style parody of Nine Inch nails (the song opens a like “Terrible Lie”, and then moves through some other songs).  The sound is uncanny in its soundalikeness (except perhaps the “microscopic bacteria” section which is a little too goofy sounding even for NIN.

“Polka Power” is one of the first medleys where the parodied songs seem utterly dated.  Like The Spice Girls, Harvey Danger, Backstreet Boys (which I only know because he says “Backstreet’s Back.” Smash Mouth.  Chumbawamba, Marchy Playground, and Semisonic.  Of course, there is also a Beastie Boys line (“Intergalactic”), but it’s a very era specific song.  “Your Horoscope for Today” is a ska song of horoscopes inspired by The Onion (which is hilarious).

Of course, nothing comes close to “Its All About the Pentiums,” Al’s first rap song about being a total dork  It is amazing—heavy guitars and lots of screaming.  It’s even more bad ass than the original.  And the smack talk is hilarious Asking about his computer: “You think your Commodore 64 is really neato.  What kind of chip you got in there, a Dorito?”).  I can listen to this song over and over.  It’s a wonderful precursor to “White and Nerdy.”  “Truck Drivin’ Song” has a remarkably deep voice for Al. It’s about driving a truck (as a transvestite).  The humor is childish but funny and with that voice it’s particularly so.  “Grapefruit Diet” is another series of jokes about being fat, but it works very well as a parody of “Zoot Suit Riot” with the jazzy horns and all.

That leaves “Albuquerque” an eleven, yes eleven, minute story song.  It’s a style parody of a song by The Rugburns which I didn’t know until recently (called Dick’s Automotive, but that song is much more “adult” than Al’s. The song is simple enough but the lyrics are wondrously absurd and very very funny.  And as it goes on and on and on you just marvel at the mind that created it.  And it’s catchy too.

Scissors is a great album which holds up quite well after 14 years.

[READ: June 23, 2013] Zita the Space Girl

I’d actually read the sequel to this book first, but I quickly found this first book and the family devoured it, too.

This is a charming and sweetly drawn series about a girl, Zita, who winds up in outer space.  As it opens, Zita is being a bit of a bully to her friend Joseph.  Not horrible but teasing in the way friends can do.  And when they find a giant meteor hole and a space-type gadget with a big red button on it, of course she threatens to push it in front to him,  He freaks out, but she does it anyhow.  And when she does, another dimension opens up and sucks Joseph away.  Oops.

So she pushes it again and winds up in the same place which she realizes is very very different from her own.  The thing that has Joseph is all tentacles in a diver’s helmet.  But that’s just one of the weird creatures here (as seen in Gilliam’s Guide to Sentient Species–which I take as a tribute to Terry Gilliam).  Like Strong-Strong, a large lumbering biped (who helps Zita), and a group of chicken creatures (who do not).  There’s also a man who plays a flute (called Piper) who may or may not be a friend.  She also meets a giant mouse named Pizzicato, but which Zita just calls Mouse.  Mouse is very sweet and communicates through a printer around its neck. (more…)

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daiper2SOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-Even Worse (1988).

evenAfter the slump of Polka Party, Al took a little time off and then released Even Worse.  It features his second Michael Jackson parody and this one was destined to be huge!  The song and especially the video for “Fat” was amazing–a big budget extravaganza that really captured the original (amazingly).  The jokes are awful throughout the song (every fat cliche ever) but there’s something about singing them in a Michael Jackson style that is really funny).

“Stuck in a Closet with Vanna White” is an 80’s metal type song about nightmares   It’s pretty funny and it actually rocks pretty hard–and might fool those who don’t really listen to  the lyrics.  “This Song is Just Six Words Long” is a genius parody of the dreadful George Harrison song “I’ve Got My Mind Set on You” which really is just six words long.

“You Make Me” is a funny, weird song about the kinds of crazy things that being in love makes you do.  The song is frenetic with crazy sound effects.  Wikipedia says it is a style parody of Oingo Boingo which I never would have guessed, but I can certainly see it in retrospect.

“I Think I’m a Clone Now” is a pretty fun parody of that ubiquitous Tiffany song.  “Lasagna” is a parody of La Bamba and it starts with a very proper-sounding Italian accordion Italian solo.  The song turns into a preposterous over the top Eye-talian accented song about food.  “Melanie” is a song to a girl who won’t go out with him.  Perhaps because he is a stalker (and a weirdo!).  “Alimony” is a parody of “Mony Mony,” a song I particularly dislike, but I like Al’s parody which doesn’t exactly duplicate the sound of the original.

“Velvet Elvis” is in the style of The Police and you can certainly tell, but it doesn’t hit you over the head.  And yet when you hear all of the musical details, you realize just how genius the song is.  And I find that the more I listen to it the better it sounds. And the more you know The Police, the more you should be impressed by the musicianship of Al’s band.  “Twister” is a style parody of The Beastie Boys. It’s basically a commercial for the game and it works well in the style.  It wouldn’t work if it was longer than a minute, but for what it is, it works very well (and is funny to imagine the Beastie Boys doing it (especially circa 1987).  “Good Old Days” ends the disc as a sweet James Taylor-esque ballad about how things were so good way back when.  Of course it’s written from the point of view of a serial killer, so there is that.

This album showed Al really improving his musicianship and the quality of his parodies.  And more importantly, his originals (and the style parodies  were really taking off.  Al looked like he was on a major roll.  And then he made UHF.

[READ: March 13, 2013] Super Diaper Baby 2

As this sequel opens we see that professor Krupp was not amused by George and Harold’s first Super Diaper Baby comic book.  And he demands to know why all they can write about is poo.  Their answer, logically: what else is there?  But they take the Principal’s words to heart and decide to write about something else for the sequel.

And it has some surprisingly sensitive ideas in it.  As the proper story opens, we see Super Diaper Baby and Diaper Dog come to the rescue in a number of situations.  But they realize that Billy’s dad is feeling a little bummed because the people came to him for help first but the superheros took over.  It’s not easy being the father of  superhero.  They’re not sure what they can to help Billy’s dad.

Meanwhile, Dr Dilbert Dinkle, a mad scientist, has created the Liquidator 2000.  It will change anything into water.  And he demonstrates on the wall of a bank.  He explains the machine to his evil cat, Petey, who is bored by the doctor and does nothing but mock him.  (He is quiet evil).  Petey says it’s boring being the lookout for him.  But Dr Dinkle replies that that’s a Y.P. not an M.P (your problem not my problem).  Petey is not amused by this and continues to mock the Doctor’s breath.  Then he accidentally leans on the lever and turns the doctor into a puddle of water. (more…)

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grantladn4SOUNDTRACK: PUBLIC IMAGE LTD-“Poptones” and “Careering” on American Bandstand (1980).

abThe Dick Clark article below alerted me to this bizarre gem–PiL “playing” on American Bandstand.   The article talks about John Lydon ignoring the lip synch, climbing into the audience and generally disregarding the show’s script. The video suggests something sightly less sinister (although maybe for 1980 it was outrageous–do you really cross Dick Clark?).

Dick Clark himself announces the band nicely, and then the crazy off-kilter bass and simple guitar of “Poptones” kick in.   Lydon runs into the bleachers with the kids (most of whom are dressed in New Wave finery not unlike Lydon).  They shriek with glee when he comes nearby (do any of them know who he is?  I have no idea).  When Lydon’s spoken rambling come in a little later you can’t help but wonder what the hell they are doing on AB.

Then, Lydon starts grabbing people from the audience and pushing them towards the stage–something I believe was unheard of on AB.  The fans dance around to the impossible-to-dance-to “Poptones.”  The song ends and Dick asks John if he wants the kids out there for song two.  Yes, song Two!  He does and John faux lip synchs through “Careering,” avoiding cameras at all costs and dancing with the kids–one of the most egalitarian performances I can think of from Lydon.

And listen for Dick asking Jah Wobble his name (reply THE Jah Wobble) and him saying, nice to meet you Wobble.  What a surreal moment–wonder what Dick thought of it.

Enjoy it here:

 

[READ: December 28, 2012] Grantland 4

Grantland continues to impress me with these books (and no, I have not yet visited the website).  My subscription ran out with this issue and I have resubscribed–although I take major issue with the $20 shipping and handling fee.  I even wrote to them to complain and they wrote back saying that the books are heavy.  Which is true, but not $5/bk heavy.  The good news is that they sent me a $10 off coupon so the shipping is only half as painful now.

This issue’s endpages were “hypothetical baseball wheel-guides created by JASON OBERG–they were pretty cool and a fun idea.  They look very retro, but use contemporary batters, pitchers and catchers.  I’d like to see them for real.

Each issue makes me like sports a little bit more, but not enough to actually watch  them.

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SOUNDTRACK: SPARE THE ROCK, SPOIL THE CHILD PODCAST (2005-present).

Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child started as a small radio show in Massachusetts and is now syndicated to whomever wants it.

In browsing their playlists, I see a wonderful selection of tunes for kids (and adults).  There is a definite They Might Be Giants connection (I gather they did the theme song).  But in between bands like Deedle Deedle Dees, Trout Fishing in America and Wee Hairy Beasties, they also play Superchunk (“Hyper Enough”), NoMeansNo (“Joy”) The Beastie Boys (“Intergalactic”) and Firewater (!) (“Ponzi’s Revenge).  These are songs that any kid would love and the fit in very well with some of the more energetic music featured in the rest of the show.

You can see their blog site here.  You can listen to the archives (and subscribe) here.

[READ: November 5, 2012] The Flying Beaver Brothers and The Evil Penguin Plan 

I stumbled upon this book at the library.  I’m always looking for books for the kids, and this graphic novel seemed great for Clark to read before bed.  It turned out that Sarah really liked it and so did Tabitha and now so did I.

Maxwell Eaton III has written several different children’s books, like The Adventures of Max and Pinky which we loved, and Two Dumb Ducks, which was okay.  But we loved The Flying Beaver Brothers.  The brothers are Ace and Bub.  Ace loves adventure!  (The opening sequence is awesome!).  You can see his surfboard by the door and everything.  Bub, on the other hand, would much rather simply nap.  But it is time for the annual island surfing contest and Ace stands a good chance of winning, that is, if the huge beaver, Bruce, doesn’t get in their way (he wouldn’t be plotting something nefarious would he?). (more…)

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